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Champions League, Main Round, Day 9 – Preview & Commentaries


Crucial game in Brescia, last chance for some

Another crucial day in Group A: the game of Brescia (ITA) and Dynamo (RUS) can become a decisive battle in the hunt for the Final Eight berths. And even though there will be five more matches to play after this round, the current encounters seem to be the last chances for OSC (HUN) and Hannover (GER) to stay in the race. In Group B this day might see the top four sides moving away from the others.

Jump right to the comments from players and coaches for the upcoming games!

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Group A

Five teams chase the four available F8 spots in Group A and two more still have mathematical chances – the race stays exciting. Two of the top four will clash each other in this round, and there is a lot at stake: the winner of the Brescia v Dynamo encounter will take a huge step towards Genoa while the loser might be directed to a pretty rocky road. In Moscow they settled to a 9-9 draw – and a similarly close match is forecasted for Wednesday.

Top ranked Olympiacos (GRE) lost its first game of the season in Dubrovnik (CRO) three weeks ago but still enjoys a three-point advantage. The Greeks are the favorites in Hannover (GER), though the Germans will fight to stay alive, another loss would definitely kill all their chances to qualify for the F8.

The situation is the same for OSC (HUN), under the new coach they managed to finally break their losing streak, reaching a surprising draw in Moscow – now they face 2016 winner and 2017 runner-up Jug. Six points separate the two sides, the 4th place is further two away – it’s a must-win game for both teams. A loss would push Jug into trouble, while OSC would definitely bow out from the race if they leave their pool empty-handed.

Barceloneta (ESP) enjoys a fine unbeaten run, three wins followed two draws and now another victory is in sight as they meet bottom-ranked Partizan (SRB) at home.

Group B

In Group B this day might begin to widen the gap between the top and the lower ranked four sides. Recco (ITA) will probably roll over Sabadell (ESP) and Eger (HUN) faces a much easier test in Alphen (NED) than the last two games against title-holder Szolnok (HUN) – they collected six points from those matches, this one is an easy cruise against the Dutch side.

Szolnok, in the meantime, is going through a really bad spell: after losing twice to Eger they also fell in the national league, losing to Euro Cup winner Ferencvaros at home. They try to use the game against Jadran (MNE) as the first step towards back to the top – any other result than a win would be a huge surprise as well as would leave the star team in a serious situation.

Spandau (GER) has staged a great march so far and a win against Steaua (ROU) would further cement their position in the top half of the ranks. In Bucharest they scored a last-second winner which shows that this upcoming encounter might be just as tight – and the Romanians started to feel the taste of victory against Alphen. For Steaua this is virtually the last chance to stay in visible distance, while Spandau badly needs these three points before the ‘dangerous’ visits in the Hungarian teams’ pools in the following rounds.

Champions League, Day 9

Group A

17.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Group B

17.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)

20.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v AZC Alphen (NED)


Insights and Commentaries for the 9th leg of the 2017/2018 Champions League

Group A

17.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)


Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Last 5 CHL matches (Win, Draw, Loss)

Hannover: LWLLL

Olympiacos: WWWWL

Last match

Hannover: Barceloneta 7-13 (home)

Olympiacos: Jug 8-10 (away)

Face-to-face, Day 6:                                                       

Olympiacos v Hannover 11-7

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“All players are back, we want to do a great fight against one of the best teams in this season…”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:

“One of the best teams in Europe comes to Hannover. I hope that a lot of fans will come to help us to try to make a big surprise. We usually play big games when we are not favourites so I expect a really good clash on Wednesday.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Olympiacos is a great team that has shown that most in the previous part of the Champions League. They are certainly the favourites against us. We play at home and with our best game I think we can make the match interesting until the end.”

Theodoros Vlachos head coach, Olympiacos:

“The game against Hannover may hide traps for my team. We need to be focused throughout the game in order to return to the winning track against an strange opponent that presents a different face in each game.”

Giannis Fountoulis, player, Olympiacos:

“Every game in the LEN Champions League is a strong one. Even if our team looks like to win games with ease, you’ll never know what is going to happen. We have already played against Hannover, we know them well, and we’ll try to stop some players that are dangerous in offence. The key for the win is to play our game, stay focused and serious.”

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)


Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Last 5 matches

Barceloneta: DDWWW

Partizan: LLLLL

Last match

Barceloneta: Hannover 13-7 (away)

Partizan: Brescia 3-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Partizan v Barceloneta 5-15

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“Partizan is a very young team with little experience but that does not mean it is going to be an easy match. We have to play well and add another victory which is very important for us if we want to be in the Final Eight. I hope to we can play a good game.”

Stefan Ciric, head coach, Partizan:

“The first match against Barceloneta was our worst game in this season. Nothing was going well in that encounter. We must play better in Barcelona. Our young team showed its potential in several hard matches this season, but we had a lot of ups and downs in almost every game. This Wednesday we will try to play on the same, high level from the start till the end. We have nothing to lose, Barceloneta is the favourite. The match will be important for us to learn and to prepare for games in the Regional League.”

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)


AN Brescia (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Last 5 matches

Brescia: WWDWW

Dynamo: WDDWD

Last match

Brescia: Partizan 8-3 (away)

Dynamo: OSC 7-7 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Dynamo v Brescia 9-9

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“For us, this Wednesday’s game is very important, a win could be a fundamental step towards the Final Eight. We know it will be a hard task, Dynamo is a strong team which plays a very good water polo, they’ve got three excellent foreigners and six players of the national team of Russia. It will be necessary to come up with a high level performance. The challenge is crucial and the choice of two extraordinary referees as Boris Margeta and Georgios Stavridis proves that.”

 Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“Brescia showed a very high level game last time in Moscow. This team has no weak spots but has a lot of skilled players. For us, it will be the hardest match against a rival which will play at home with its ardent audience. We prepare to play in man-down a lot because Brescia team has a lot 6 on 5s when they play at home.”

 Roman Shepelev, player, Dynamo:

“We prepare for a hard game which can determine the qualifying positions. It will be an important game for both teams. The second half of the preliminaries require more motivation, more physical training and more tactical thoughts.”

20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)


A Hid-OSC Budapest v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Last 5 matches



Last match

OSC: Dynamo 7-7 (away)

Jug: Olympiacos 10-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Jug v OSC 12-10

Laszlo Toth, head coach, OSC:

“We will play against one of the strongest water polo team in the world, what is not an easy mission for us. But if we want to go to the Final8 we have to win, no matter how.”

Sava Randelovic, player, OSC:

“We will have a really hard game against Jug, they form really good team, but we have some chance to win at home if we mark well their best-scoring players. It will be a really great match.”

 Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“When you playing in Hungary you know that it cannot be an easy game especially in Champions League. OSC changed its coach recently and since then the whole team plays much better what they showed in Moscow against Dynamo.”

 Vincenzo Renzuto, player, Jug:

“On Wednesday we have very important match. The key of the match will be defence that will have to be on a high level. I think we are better the team but we need to show that in the water.”


Group B

19.00 (Tuesday) Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA)


(Tuesday) Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Last 5 matches

Sabadell: LLLLW

Recco: LWWWW

Last match

Sabadell: Jadran 8-7 (away)

Recco: Spandau 12-4 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Recco v Sabadell 13-5

Chava Gomez, head coach, Sabadell:

”We are facing Pro Recco again in a very short space of time, they are, as I said, one of the best teams in the world. We already saw in their pool that they were superior to us, so what we have to keep doing is to learn everything we can in these games. Without doubt it is a good day for the people to come to the pool to enjoy water polo with a great team.”

Oscar Carrillo, player, Sabadell:

”This edition of the Champions League serves as an opportunity to our team to gain a lot of experience while playing against great European water polo teams. And this Tuesday is another one of these days when we face perhaps the best in the world. For our fans it is a good time to come to the pool to support the team, and for us is a good day to continue learning things and gain experience.”

Vladimir Vujasinovic, head coach, Pro Recco:

“We must not make the mistake of underestimating this game. Against Sabadell my team have to play to the maximum to apply the best approach to the Final Four of the Italian Cup scheduled in Bari over the weekend.”

18.00 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)


Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

Last 5 matches

Szolnok: WWWLL

Jadran: WLLWL

Last match

Szolnok: Eger 3-6 (away)

Jadran: Sabadell 7-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Jadran v Szolnok 6-14

Sandor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

“We are not in a good shape, but we are constantly working on improving our game. We won in the pool of Jadran, but this game will be a new one. Our rival’s performance is changing, they have won against Spandau, they have played a draw with Eger, but they have lost in their last game at home to Sabadell. We are expecting to see the Jadran team in a strong shape, so we will have to play with our maximum throughout the game.”

Bence Fulop, player, Szolnok:

“In Herceg Novi we won flawlessly, but we should not take that as a basis for this coming game. Jadran was not too tough at that time, and we were in a good shape. Our matches in the recent weeks were not very successful. As for now, we are working to come out of this downturn. We are in the need of a mood-improving victory, which we want to seize.”

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coah, Jadran Carine

“We know we play against the European Champion team in their pool and that is a very difficult mission. In the first game we played at home and we did not made a good result. We hope in this game we will make a better impression. For me and for my team it is a privilege to play against the title-holders and we will try to stay close as long as possible and keep a positive result during game.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran Carine

“It will be an extremely difficult game. We know how Szolnok plays at home. We will give our best and we will try to get the best possible result in this game. Hope it will be better than it was in first match we played in Herceg Novi.”

19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)


Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

Last 5 matches

Spandau: WWWLL

Steaua: LWLWW

Last match

Spandau: Recco 4-12 (away)

Steaua: Alphen 9-8 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Steaua v Spandau 5-6

Peter Rohle, team manager, Spandau:

“We are playing at home and we want to keep the chance to reach the Final Eight. But if we look back it was a very tight game in Bucharest where we did win with one goal, just two seconds before the end of the game. So I expect again a very tight match. We have to play our best water polo to keep the three points in Berlin.”

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“We had a break for almost three weeks, due to the games of the national team in the international competitions, so we don’t know, where we stand. We have to compensate Mateo Cuk who is injured. Bucharest is a very experienced team with good quality. We will try everything to realise a win but it will be a long way.”

 Iulian Radoi, player, Steaua:

We know that the match with Spandau will not be easy. They are one of the pretenders, staying in the first four places and seeking the qualification for the Final Eight. We will try to play our game, have a good defensive line. We’ll try to build on every opportunity we have. After the game in Bucharest where they won in the last second, they will try to treat this match more seriously. We have our chance and we have to go to Berlin confidently. Since we met in Bucharest they did not have very good matches so I think the Germans may be in a weak form.” 

Ivan Buljubasic, player, Steaua:

“For me, Spandau is the biggest surprise in our group till now but we have shown in the first game that that we are on the same level with them, there we would have deserved at least one point. Still, we have to be aware because they play much better at home.”

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v ZF Eger (HUN)


AZC Alphen (NED) v ZF Eger (HUN)

Last 5 matches

Alphen: LLLLL


Last match

Alphen: Steaua 8-9 (away)

Eger: Szolnok 6-3 (home)

Face-to-face, Day 6:

Eger v Alphen: 15-4

Ron van der Wild, head coach, Alphen:

“We played a good match in our last game against Steaua. Eger, on the other hand, is a stronger opponent. We will of course try to deliver a good performance for the public and keep the difference as narrow as possible.”

Andreas Mirales, player, Alphen:

“As a team we play better and better. We are not yet constant enough to make it difficult for opponents like Eger. We still learn and benefit from the Champions League experience in the Dutch competition. That’s what it is about for us at the moment. “

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, ZF-Eger:

“This is a ‘must-win’ game for our team. I hope we can play the same level as in our previous matches and show an energetic, successful, ambitious performance.”

Balint Lorincz, player, ZF-Eger:

“We are in the middle of a tough series. More and more important matches are coming. This one against Alphen is also very important. I think they are a weaker team than ours, but we have to be careful. We are going to Netherlands to win, this is our goal.”

Gergo Kovacs, player, ZF-Eger:

“We are playing our matches in a ‘Wednesday-Saturday’ schedule for a month. There are three matches for this week, the most important now is the game against Ferencvaros. The match in Alphen will be a great battle and a good preparation for the upcoming tests.”

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